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    Angel Barracks

    I think it would be cool to create a topic (this one) that lists all sorts of military slang/terminology.

    Here are a few that spring to mind, (that I think are correct anyway)

    Rupert – Commissioned officer
    Yomp – Long heavy march
    Wet – A brew
    Brew – Tea / Coffee
    Gucci – A piece of kit that is sought after
    Slop Jockey – chef
    Hoofing – very good
    Beer Tokens – cash

    Just Jack

    We need a separate one for US, I s’pose 😉

    Zero – Commissioned officer
    Hump – Long heavy march
    Lifer Juice – Coffee
    (expletive) – chef
    Doggie – Soldier
    Squid – Sailor
    Zoomie – Airman
    Recon – illegally acquire, like “hey, go recon us some more 7-62 rounds.”
    Nintendo Bullets – 40mm grenades
    Libo – Party time
    FLOs – Foreign Liaison Officers, AKA members of the opposite sex
    Humpin’ the Pig – carrying the machine gun
    Lay’em down – take someone out (an order)
    Take Guardian Angel – take up overwatch (an order or declaration)
    Park some dots – putting aiming reticles on target without firing (an order), reminding guys not to fire yet but to be prepared.
    I’m begging you, with tears in my eyes… – last words heard by a whole lot of bad guys.  Sorry, you’ll have to have me explain if you ever catch me drunk 😉

    There’s probably a million more…




    Thaddeus Blanchette

    Some Brazilian ones…

    Brazil – To accept a fucked up situation, putting aside personal interests or likes. Also to indicate that everything’s under control. “The troop is deployed around Dead  Rat Hill and the situation’s all Brazil, Captain”.

    Plush – to get comfortable: “I got all plush in the back of the Urutu and slept for four hours.”

    Mission – anything you are orderd to do, from invading a favela to sweeping out the shitter.

    Stick-shitter – someone who habitually fucks up a mission.

    Big black girlfriend/ big black babe – the FAL assault rifle.

    FNER – Fucking non-existing regulation. When someone just invents something on the fly and claims it’s “in the manual”.

    Pushing the world – doing pushups as a punishment.

    Suck that mango! – resolve a messy situation and get it all Brazil.

    VAL – Light automatic broom. What the soldier is supposed to use when his mission is to get the shitter all Brazil. A spoof on the FAL.

    Stick out your dick – to volunteer or be volunteered. “I need two soldiers to Brazil the shitter with the VALs. Look! Fonseca and Perreira, just stuck out their dicks!”

    Play the “Fuckitall” / Blow the “Fuckitall” – when you toss the manual out the window and resort to improvising a solution to a situation. “So Fonseca and me just blew the ‘Fuckitall’ and took the firehose to the shitter. Got it nice and Brazil. We then went and got plush in th barracks.” From bugle calls. Also to put the entire troop or base on the higest possible state of alarm.

    Monkey on a vine – spaghetti noodles with ground beef.

    In it with his dick up to the uterus – to be unretrievably stuck in to an extremely bad situation.

    Zero One – the best of a class or the commander of a base or unit.

    Sitting on the hedgehog throne – to have to give an explanation to a superior. “The Zero One caught Fonseca and Perreira plushed in the barracks and sat them on the hedgehog throne. Now they are in it with their dcks up to the uterus”.

    Read the fucking postergrams – consult the regulations posted on the bulletin board.








    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!


    Might be interesting/useful to note the timeframe for some of these.


    My favourite (South African army slang):

    Bosbevok – A bit crazy, from being in the bush too long.

    Will post some more when I have time to sit and type.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    Olaf Meys

    Paul, we just went straight to “bossies”, especially when returning from ‘Nam (Namibia) in the Vomit Comet (Dak).

    wargames review site...


    BITS, beans in tomato sauce.

    SHITS, spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce.

    TITS, tomato’s in tomato sauce.

    ARRY’S IN, tomato’s in tomato sauce.

    Deeps, a submariner.

    Oggin, the sea.

    More time off than the Queen mums bunk lamp, some person rarely at sea.

    TURN TOO, start work.

    STAND EASY, work break.

    MAKE AND MEND, afternoon off.

    MORNING, 0400 – 0800 watch. 

    FORENOON, 0800 – 1200 watch.

    AFTERNOON, 1200 – 1600 watch.

    FIRST DOG, 1600 -1800 watch.

    SECOND DOG, 1800 – 2000 watch.

    FIRST, 2000 – 2359 watch.

    MIDDLE, 2359 – 0400 watch.

    WATCH, position of duty whilst at sea or part of a duty watch alongside.



    Otto Schmidt


    There is already a manual of this.


    SNAFU: Sailor, Airman, and Soldier Slang of WWII by Gordon L. Rottman Osprey Publishing Co., Oxfod & NY 2013  376 pgs. ISBN 978-1-4351-5112-3

    Gives the slang terms for all three services for American, British, and German armed forces in WWII.




    Might be interesting/useful to note the timeframe for some of these.

    Yeah. Are you looking for contemporary slang or any period?

    Angel Barracks

    Might be interesting/useful to note the timeframe for some of these.

    Yeah. Are you looking for contemporary slang or any period?

    I was after contemporary when I posted this, though any and all may be good.


    I’m a little late with this, but here is British Army Slang during the Napoleonic Wars

      Against the sun:  Counter clock-wise

     a la Hussard (Hussar)  Rough it a la hussard.  Hussars were seen as scouts and dashing. Sleeping with their horse while on reconnaissance.  Calling some one a Hussar, meant they were willing to make do, forage, do dashing and dangerous assignments, while a la hussard(Fr.) was to make do, forage, and generally live off the land.

    Assembly: “To beat assembly” means to bring the unit together in marching order.  First beat, part of a unit, second beat, the whole unit.  ‘Assembly’ was used as slang. The mess is to gather for dinner, the officers could call out to their comrades, “Assembly” or “Beat to assembly.”

    Bamboozle   From Scottish bombase, to perplex or fool.  Probably picked up from Scottish troops.

    Barndook, Bundook:  Hindu words crept into the British army even before the Victorian era.  Barndook was the Hindu word for government-issue muskets. (The British pronounced the word several ways.)

     Bilk:  To cheat or swindle.  A navy term that crept into Army vocabulary

     Billet: Fr.  Many of the military terms have French origins.  At first a ticket for lodgings given to a soldier, particularly when lodged with private citizens. Billet came to mean the  assigned lodgings themselves, regardless of whether they were private lodgings to military..

     Birthday suit:  Amazingly, this originated in the 18th century British army.  Means to be naked.

     Biscuit-flipping range, bottle-throwing range:  About 25-30 yards. Often the range at that an officer would wait to call for a volley.  Came to mean anything dangerously close.  

     Bitch:  Used as a verb meaning to quit or surrender from fear.  This is besides the usual connotations.

     Black Bess / Brown Bess:  The soldiers’ name for the British army’s musket from about 1750 through the Napoleonic wars. Called Black or Brown because at different times the barrel would be chemically turned brown to the metal, or the stock black to match the ‘blued’ barrel. By the Napoleonic wars the practice had stopped, but the name remained.

     Blubber:  To cry uncontrollably.

     Bluff: A buxom female.  “She was Bluff.”

     Bobtail: Name given to women camp followers, particularly the loose ones.  Refers to one who flaunts her backside, often while marching.

     “boots” Youngest officer in a regimental mess, whose duty it was to ring the mess bell and tend the fire.

     Booty:  Military stores and goods seized legally during a time of war–originally. By 1809, most any items, military or not, seized legally or not, was referred to as booty.

     Brass Monkey: A brass container found on board ship or in artillery caissons that held shot. (artillery canister ammo)  Many references to the Brass Monkey and his balls were circulated. (“Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”)

     Bringers-up: The file-closers. The NCOs responsible to see that the company line was straight and any stragglers were brought up into line.  Any soldier in charge of making sure that other soldiers were where they should be.

     Buckler:  The belt and brass buckle that went over the shoulder and held a sword scabbard at a soldier’s hip.

     Buff: Leather with the animal hair removed. Color of leather (a very light tan). Also refers to being naked or very tough like the leather.

     Bully:  Salt beef.  It also was used to refer to someone with a big mouth or a pimp or a tough in a unit. (One who would try intimidating other soldiers with his size or strength.)

     Bumfodder:  Anything used as toilet paper.

     Bunk: A plank where a soldier sleep, usually in a barracks.  Often covered with straw or built to stack the planks one on top another.  (Bunk beds.)

     Buzzard: A dim-witted person or someone afraid of everything.

     Canteen:  Fr. Cantine/ Sp. Cantina   Small shop or bar–also refers to water bottle or wooden flask carried by soldiers. Often the two meanings would be mixed in humorous ways.

     Cantonment: Unfortified camp area, or general area of rented/seized buildings for housing troops.

     Captain-General:  Commanding General of an army

     Captain-Lieutenant: A lieutenant holding a command usually given to a captain (A company or squadron.)

     Chamade: The drumbeat used to signal a meeting between officers of opposing armies. Generally used in reference to breaking up fights or making amends between friends.

     Cheerily, men!  An order to move quickly, with dispatch.

     Cheese or Bread toaster:  A straight sword, not a saber.

     Cheese paring: Petty theft or stealing from the mess supplies.

     Click:  A blow to the body or to grab something. (From the quick ‘click’ of a flinlock hammer coming down on the frizzen.)

     Clinkers/clinker:  Refers to the leg and wrist irons worn by prisoners,(any soldiers arrested for theft etc.) Thus anyone who would cheat or steal was a clinker.

     Cocksure: confident where there is danger.  A cocked weapon may not go off, or go off prematurely, though it shouldn’t.

     Coldcock: To knock unconscious.  Comes from either hitting someone with a pistol butt rather than shooting them or from cocking the pistol when there is no powder in the pan to fire the pistol/musket.

     Cocks up:  To die.  Several versions of the origins of this.

     Commissary: Any officer or group in charge of supplies for an army.

     Cooler:  A prison, or cold, unaffectionate woman.  From the sheds called coolers used to keep milk and meat cool.

     Corporal’s guard:  Any group of soldiers commanded by a corporal for a particular duty.  Often used in reference to a group of officers out drinking.

     Cozy dogs: Dogs figure often in army slang.  This refers to those who have found great billets, or have made their camp comfortable. The image is a dog curled up in front of a fire.

     Johnny Crapaud / John Toad:   Names given a French soldier.

     Creeper:  Name for body lice, or anyone with similar characteristics.

     Crow: To boast or to beat an opponent into submission. “Eat crow.”

     Crying out:  Deciding to leave the army.

     Dandy funk, Duff,  Slush,  Hasty pudding:   All are puddings made from stale biscuit, and any number of ingredients including slush(grease left from cooking) bits of meat, molasses and raisins and various vegetables. Either baked or boiled.

     Dead Soldier: Empty bottle of wine or liquor

     Diehard: Tough, one who stands their ground against the odds.  From Colonel John Inglis, who commanded the 57th Foot at Albuera. Told his unit to never surrender and to “die hard.”  They did: 75% losses. The regiment became known as the ‘Diehards.”

     Dock:  To deflower or ravish a woman

     Dogsbody:  Pudding made of vegetables (usually peas) boiled in a cloth sack. Also soldiers referred to any new junior officer as a “dogsbody”–shapeless and weak.

     Doff: Middle English: to remove.  To remove an article of clothing, usually a hat.

     Double Dutch:  Unintelligible, nonsense.

     Double time: Order to move at twice the rate.  If the unit was moving at 60 beats a minute (and steps.), double time would have them moving at 120 beats a minute.

     Draw the longbow: Tell a tall tale or be long-winded

     Dutch courage:  False courage induced by drinking. The Dutch were known to issue both sailors and soldiers liberal amounts of liquor before battle.

     Epaulette: The shoulder decoration denoting officers. Because it’s appearance reminded sailors of their mops, sailors referred to officers as “swabs.”  All sailors later became known as swabbies or swabs because they mopped the decks.

     Face a fence–top a rail–rasp a rail–skim a furrow: Horse racing/hunting references that meant to do well in difficult circumstances or to show a brave front or to just barely succeed.

     Fencible: A name for the Militia raised between 1793 and 1800.

     Fid: The twisted fuse inserted into a cannon’s vent to set off the powder.

     Fid of tobacco: A quid or plug of tobacco. Resembled a cannon fid.

     Field officer: Any officer commanding a regiment or below. Anyone holding the rank of Colonel or below.  A General officer were usually generals, but referred to anyone commanding a brigade or higher. Often included staff officers who were not in command themselves, but aides to commanding officers.

     File: The rows of men in ranks of two or more. In a two rank formation, each file would have two men in it.

     Filer:  To run away. Fr. Filer: to run, slip.  It was often expected that a common soldier would run, so the term ‘filer.’   However, it was often used as a really derogatory term for an officer that showed fear or ran away.

     Firemaster: The officer who mixed the gun powder for the unit or army.  It was also used to identify anyone that was socially in the center of a unit or a group of officers. Also refers to anyone essential to a unit’s functioning.

     First chop: the best, from the Chinese ‘chop’.  Came by way of India.

     First luff: 1st Lieutenant

     Flapper: Young duckling, or anyone, particularly young officers, without much experience or sense.

     Flash-in-the-pan:  Looks good, but no substance.  From a flintlock misfire. The powder in the pan ignites, but not the powder in the barrel. The gun looks like it should have fired, but didn’t.

     Fogey:  Term for experienced soldier.  Origin of “old fogey.”

     Forager/to forage: One who goes out to find feed for the animals and food for the troops from the surrounding countryside. Usually, by stealing/seizing it.  It also meant when troops would buy supplies from surrounding farms, but usually not.  The British were generally willing to give script for supplies.

     French leave: To leave the unit without permission. AWOL.

     Frizzen: The Piece of metal attached to the pan that the flint struck on a pistol or musket.  It was also slang for being mad, or excited or making love.(the sparks)  It was also used as a substitute for several swear words.

     Frog: French soldier.  Also used to describe the excessive lace on an officer’s uniform such as many French officers used. (Frogging)

     Furl: The act of folding a regimental standard.  Unfurl is unfolding it, letting fly in the wind. Term was also used for leaving, as in “Let’s furl our colors.”

     Gabardine: A very long gray overcoat made of coarse materials. Often worn by cavalrymen.

     Gall: To irritate or rub the wrong way.  Comes from the strong smell of gall, often smelled on the wounded.

     Give Chocolate:  a bitter, extensive chewing out, like unsweetened chocolate.

    Glory hole: Holding place for prisoners, the vent on a cannon or the flintlock pan hole.A reference to officer’s quarters, as well as sexual connotations. Could be referenced as someplace unattractive in a sarcastic way or as someplace very attractive.

    Going off half-cocked: When powder was put in the pan, the hammer had to be ‘half-cocked’ to do this.  It was assumed that the gun would not go off when half-cocked, but because of inferior materials did. The reference was to anyone doing something without thinking or unprepared, or unexpectedly..

    Grasshoppers:  French term for the 95th Rifles and their green uniforms.  It became a reference to all light infantry, especially those with green facings.

    Gunpowder tea:  Army-supplied tea that was very finely ground.  It looked like gunpowder and was difficult to strain out of the tea when poured.

    Hempen dogs:  The dogs that chase horses and carriages.  Anyone who treated horses and other animals badly was a hempen dog. Supply wagon drivers and some cavalry officers would be called this as a real insult.

    Hoist/ Hoisted by one’s own petard: Hoist is Fr. For lift up, and petard is a metal kettle filled with gunpowder used to blow up trenches and fort gates.  Literally, to be hoist by one’s own petard meant that your own bomb blew you up.  The slang meant that you were done in by your own plans or your plans backfired.

    Hors de combat: Fr. You were a battle casualty.

    Humbugging:  Humbug meant nonsense.  Humbugging was going around causing trouble or doing nonsensical things. “messing around.”

    If that don’t beat the Dutch:  The Dutch were seen as very resourceful, so the phrase meant that someone had done something amazingly clever.

    Irish pennant: The stray threads from a coat or pants. Any torn piece of clothing.  Generally, to see Irish pennants on the parade ground was not a good thing.

    Jawing tasks: Difficult and unimportant tasks, ones that everyone would want to talk their way out of, thus it is a ‘jawing task.’

    Jewing bag: Soldiers kept their sewing kit in a jewing bag.

    Jiggered up: Messed up. From navy slang, that found it’s way into the Army.

    Jock:  A Scottish soldier.

    John Company:  The right Honorable East India Company.  It had its own army.

    Jury rig:  Fixed so it would work, but not very well or the way it is supposed to.

     Keep your powder dry:  Reference to Oliver Cromwell’s comment to his troops in 1649 before attacking the Irish.  It means just that, but also to be prepared for anything.

     Keep your shirt on: Means to keep one’s temper under control.  It was common practice to take off one’s shirt before a fight, especially in boxing matches.

     King’s own: This originally refered to anything with the royal armory’s crown mark stamped on it, but also became part of the name of some regular foot regiments granted the title ‘Royal’ for outstanding service. All had dark blue facings as did the Foot Guards.

     Kit: The entire set of marching equipment for a soldier.

     Lick into shape: The lick of the cat was flogging. To lick into shape was a reference to beating them until they behaved.  Usually meant that the officer would spare on means to see that a unit or man would learn to do what they should.

     Litter: Any bed, or even straw on the floor.  Also referred to a stretcher for the wounded.

     Loggerhead:  Metal knob at the end of a pole, pike or flag pole.  Referred to someone as dense as a metal loggerhead: stupid or dull.  Coming to loggerheads meant that there was a fight on.

     Mind your Ps and Qs:  Reference to British sailors having a drinking quota in pints and quarts. Often said by the tavern or innkeeper.  Became a phrase to remind someone to be careful.

     Nip: To cheat or steal.  To go down to the tavern for a nip meant to steal a drink or two.

     Pale ale:  Soldier’s term for water.

     Parade: Sp. Parada, to prepare.  An assembly for military review or field exercises. A parade ground was the place this would take place, often a large field next to a barracks or cantonment.

     Pick a quarrel: A quarrel was a medieval crossbow bolt. To pick one was to prepare for a fight–The meaning of this phrase, to pick a fight.

     Pip: The number of buttons, stripes, or chevrons on an officer’s collar.

     Point-blank: Very close.  Point-blank is an artillery term referring to when a target is close enough that the barrel of the cannon is level to the ground, and does not need to be elevated to hit the target.

     Private / Gentleman of private means: Originally medieval, referring to a private or freeman as opposed to an office holder or officer. Private referred to any soldier that was not an officer, commissioned or non-commissioned. When a soldier was promoted to an officer, but did not have the education or background of a gentleman, the Gazette would note his commission by referring to him as a ‘gentleman of private means.’

     Prize Money: The army took prizes just like the navy. In the army it would be any material or equipment captured from the enemy. The army would pay the soldier or officer for the captured equipment.  Often, when art objects or money was captured by a regiment, the regimental agent would sell the ‘booty’ and the proceeds then were divided up between the officers and perhaps rank and file.

     Provost marshal: An officer appointed for an army or regiment to secure criminals, deserters, or to prevent any other kind of crime including plundering.  It was a temporary position that was shared by the unit or army officers, much like the officer of the day.

     Quintas: Typical (small) Spanish home usually taken over in groups to provide housing for soldiers. So there could be any number of quintas in a cantonment.

     Rank and file: All the soldiers that were not commissioned officers.  Officers were not positioned in the line with the privates, but outside and behind the line.

     Ramrod: The metal or wood rod that was used to ram the powder and ball down the barrel of a musket or pistol.  Anything that would be stiff and straight could be referred to as ‘ramrod straight’ or simply as a ramrod.

     Recruit: Any replacement to a company or squadron.  A new recruit was not necessarily recently enlisted, only new to the unit and replacing casualties.

     Review: Troop inspection, either to show off the troops or to ensure that the units were fit for service. Could be done anywhere.

     Sally: To go forth, to attack. The word comes from the small door in a fort wall, the sally port. Troops would charge out of this to counterattack besiegers.

     Sharpshooter: Gr. Scharffschutze or Schutzen.  The earlier practice with the Germans and British in the American Revolution was to pick the best shots in a company to go out and skirmish.  The German word became ‘sharpshooter’ in the British army, referring to anyone who was a good shot.

     Shot his bolt: He has nothing left. Another crossbow reference.

     Show a leg: This was a common phrase first used in the Navy.  In the navy, men were called to get up. If they had a woman in with them, the woman showed her leg and they got to stay in bed a little longer.  In the army it could have the same reference, but usually meant to get moving or to make a commitment one way or another.

     Sharpnal: Captain Henry Shrapnal invented a shell that would explode about fifty yards above the ground, showering soldiers with hundreds of pieces of metal from the shell.  During the Napoleonic Wars only the British had the shell. It was a state secret.

     Silent insolence/contempt:  This was a contemptuous look that someone would give a superior officers or NCO. It was a punishable offense.  Soldiers learned to look straight ahead with an expressionless face.  It became the expectation in the British army.

     Skyrocket Jack: Any artillery officer in charge of a battery of Congreve rockets.

     Soldier’s wind: A navy term about a wind that allows the ship to sail in just about any direction.  It was picked up as a reference to anything that would move a soldier along, from the image of being propelled by passing gas to an officer hurrying them along.

     Spike a gun:  A way to disable an enemy gun by driving a metal spike into the vent of a cannon.  The phrase was used to denote anything that stopped a person short like “She really spiked his gun.”  Of course, there were many ways to shade such phrases.

     Sutler: A civilian that followed regiments, selling needed goods to the soldiers and officers. A moving general store.  Many sutlers made fortunes providing supplies in the Peninsula to an army that was not being supplied by the British government.

     Touch off: Lighting the fuse on a cannon to fire it. (the vent is often called the touch hole.)  Used to mean leaving, getting drunk, or when someone was starting something.  “I will just touch off,” or “They touch off every now and again with claret.”

     Van:  The forward guard of an army. The leading troops, usually the best.  “He is leading the van,” or “They are in the van.”

     Wallop: to beat or defeat severely.  Originated with General Wallop, who at the orders of Henry VIII , carried out a violent raid on the French.



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